Rohit, Rahul score half-centuries as India seal series victory

Rohit, Rahul score half-centuries as India seal series victory

India’s Rohit Sharma-Rahul Dravid era gets off to the perfect start as the team wrapped up the series victory over New Zealand with a comfortable 7-wicket win in Ranchi on Friday. Despite a strong start from Martin Guptill, New Zealand could only manage 153 for six in the first innings thanks to excellent spells from Harshal Patel (2 for 25) and Ravichandran Ashwin (1 for 19). In their reply, openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul scored half-centuries and put on a 117-run stand to take India home with 16 balls to spare.

Having won their second toss in three days, India got off to a poor start with the ball. The dew settled on the ground before the first innings itself – allowing the ball to come onto the bat nicely – and New Zealand took full advantage of the conditions, scoring 48 runs off the first 25 deliveries. Martin Guptill opened the innings with three boundaries off Bhuvneshwar Kumar and followed it up with a couple of excellent sixes down the ground. Guptill raced to a 15-ball 31 but was dismissed immediately after hitting a six off Deepak Chahar for the second game in a row.

Guptill’s dismissal brought some respite for the Indians, with the spinners – Axar Patel and R Ashwin – and Harshal Patel drying up the runs through the middle overs. Ashwin used his wide assortment of variations and changes of pace to keep the Kiwi batters in check, while Harshal Patel carried his fine form from the 2021 IPL into his India debut – conceding just 25 runs from his four overs to go along with the wickets of Mitchell and Glenn Phillips.

After scoring 64 in the powerplay, the Blackcaps struggled to get used to the pitch and had to settle for a below-par total of 153 after scoring only 15 runs off the final 18 deliveries.

Compared to New Zealand, the Indian openers got off to a more cautious start, scoring 45 runs off the first six with KL Rahul doing the majority of the heavy lifting, creaming a couple of picturesque boundaries through the cover region.

The Kiwis pulled things back briefly through Santner and Sodhi, but Rohit and Rahul switched through the gears effortlessly to take the game away from New Zealand. Rohit creamed Santner for two leg-side sixes in an over before KL brought up his 4th T20I half-century in five games with a six off Adam Milne.

Rohit brought up his 50 in a similar fashion against Milne, and despite a slight wobble caused by three quick wickets from Tim Southee towards the death, India comfortably sealed the victory with Rishabh Pant depositing the final two deliveries from Jimmy Neesham into the stands.